Academic Timetable - Procedures

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Academic Timetable - Procedures

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Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Designated officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
First approved
9 October 2014
Last amended
25 May 2016
Effective start date
25 May 2016
Review date
30 September 2019
Status
Active - under review
Related documents
Academic Timetable - Academic Policy

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness.

Course Catalog refers to PeopleSoft Student (Campus Solutions) configuration where data is recorded for an offering in a course. This includes course title, units, workload hours, components, description, requisites, grading basis, offerings, field of education, bands, clusters, course attributes etc.

Course Component indicates the part of the course offering in which students enrol eg lecture, tutorial, computer lab, workshop. One course may have multiple components.

Course Impact Statement is the document that collects Information Technology, Library and space requirements for each course.

Faculty Timetabling Units (referred to as ‘the Timetabling Units’) are organisational units responsible for managing timetabling and associated business processes across each of the Faculties.

Asset Management Services is the organisational unit responsible for planning and co-ordinating the construction and publication of the University academic timetable.

Non-timetabled courses are courses that do not require USC physical space resources and are setup for enrolment purposes only.

1. Purpose of procedures

The purpose of these procedures is to implement scheduling principles, organisational arrangements, and roles and responsibilities that underpin the production of the University timetable and use of central teaching space for learning and teaching activities. The procedures inform the business processes around the production of University timetables for all USC locations, excluding sites managed by third-party providers.

2. Timetable development

The University requires a new timetable to be developed at least every three years. A shorter time period may be authorised by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor if substantial changes are determined as required, for example due to changes made to the University’s curriculum or to the University’s available space.

In the years when a new timetable is not required, the final version of the timetable for the equivalent teaching period is rolled over and is provided to the Faculties as the starting point for the timetabling exercise in the subsequent year.

3. Development timelines

The final timetables for the forthcoming teaching periods will be published on the University website at least two weeks prior to the open enrolment date for the study periods.

Responsibilities

The Director, Student Services and Engagement is responsible for making recommendations via the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor on the academic dates for semesters, sessions and trimesters including Open Enrolment dates.

Asset Management Services is responsible for:

  • determining the number of timetabling exercises that are required to meet the timetabling requirements for all teaching periods, in consultation with Student Services and Engagement
  • providing development timelines that ensure the timetable is published by the required date. The timelines should be developed to provide a balanced workload for both Asset Management Services and the Faculties.

The Timetabling Units are the contact point between the Faculty and Asset Management Services. The Timetabling Units are responsible for ensuring that all information provided to Asset Management Services has the appropriate level of approval as identified in these procedures.

4. Timetable construction

4.1 Data collection

Responsibilities

Asset Management Services is responsible for:

  • determining the teaching spaces available for inclusion in the timetable. In consultation with Director, Asset Management Services, determining what new spaces are available and what existing spaces may be unavailable due to renovations and refurbishment
  • ensuring that the resources and seating levels in the teaching space are accurate and current and are compliant with health and safety requirements
  • collating the data collection and updating the timetabling software with the information supplied by the Faculties

The Timetabling Units are responsible for providing Asset Management Services with:

  • details of the courses that are to be available for the relevant teaching periods
  • any changes to the Faculty’s course portfolio, including new or discontinued courses
  • information on the anticipated enrolment numbers in the course to be offered across multiple locations (Sippy Downs, Gympie, SouthBank, Fraser Coast and study nodes)
  • the components for each course (via Student Services and Engagement) and ensuring the recorded components reflect the current Course Outline
  • a listing of potential course clashes (resulting from student enrolment requirements and staff availability)
  • details on the staff who are Course Coordinators for the courses to be timetabled
  • specific learning and teaching space requirements for courses as per the Course Impact Statement.
4.2 Preliminary draft timetable

Responsibilities

Asset Management Services is responsible for:

  • updating the timetable development software based on the initial data supplied by the Faculties and Asset Management Services
  • developing the Preliminary Draft Timetable
  • providing Faculty access to the Preliminary Draft Timetable

The Timetabling Units are responsible for:

  • checking that the data previously provided to Asset Management Services has been actioned
  • identifying changes based on updated data
  • identifying additional course clashes (resulting from student enrolment requirements and staff availability)
4.3 Second draft timetable

Responsibilities

Asset Management Services is responsible for:

  • adjusting the timetable on the basis of feedback provided by the Faculties to the Preliminary Draft Timetable
  • providing Faculty and other interested parties, access to the Second Draft Timetable

The Timetabling Units are responsible for:

  • checking that changes requested during the Preliminary Draft timetable phase have been actioned
  • checking that Course Coordinators are assigned to the correct courses
  • ensuring that assigned venues are appropriate with respect to increases/declines in course enrolment numbers
  • ensuring changes requested to the Preliminary Draft timetable have not resulted in clashes between required courses
  • consulting with specialist technicians regarding the use of specialised laboratory spaces
  • consulting with IT Services regarding any changes to the technical requirements for the courses being offered
  • consulting with staff responsible for coordinating teaching activities across multiple locations (Sippy Downs, Gympie, SouthBank, Fraser Coast and study nodes)
  • ensuring that Course Coordinators review requested changes and are advised of any inability to meet their initial timetabling requests
  • negotiating with Course Coordinators over requested changes and escalating the requests to the relevant Head of School when required
  • ensuring that there is the process that records the Course Coordinators approval of the timetabling arrangements or request for their course(s)

The relevant Head of School is responsible for approving changes to the timetable requested by Course Coordinators and must have a fair and transparent process for making determinations on such requests.

The Course Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the allocated teaching spaces and timing are as requested and are consistent with the delivery identified in the Course Outline.

4.4 Final draft timetable

Responsibilities

Asset Management Services is responsible for:

  • adjusting the timetable on the basis of feedback provided by the Faculties
  • providing a copy of the Final Draft Timetable to the Faculties
  • publishing the timetable on USC Central after receiving the approval of the Executive Deans

The Timetabling Units are responsible for:

  • checking that changes requested during the Second Draft Timetable phase have been actioned
  • checking that no additional clashes have been identified
  • arranging approval from the Final Draft Timetable by the Executive Deans

5. Post–publication of the timetable

5.1 Changes made after the timetable has been published

Students use the timetable to make enrolment decisions that best fit their academic interests as well as other commitments. All changes made after the timetable is finalised should therefore be kept to a minimum and be aligned with the student focussed timetabling principles identified in the Academic Timetable – Academic Policy.

It is the responsibility of the relevant Timetabling Unit to communicate each change to the students enrolled in the affected course and/or class and manage any further enquiries from students that may arise from the change.

Responsibilities

The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor is authorised on behalf of the university, to approve adjustments to the published timetable in exceptional circumstances which arise and which are external to the Faculties.

The Executive Deans are responsible for approving requests from Course Coordinators for changes to the published timetable in courses for which they are responsible.

5.2 Class allocation and management of components

Class allocation is the process that allows students to enrol in specific components of a course, (eg lectures, laboratories, workshops & tutorials) for each course.

Students refer to the current timetable to obtain class numbers and are required to enrol in one class number for each course component.

Responsibilities

The Timetabling Units are responsible for advising the Asset Management Services of any changes to the scheduled timetable components.

Asset Management Services is responsible for advising the Timetabling Units of any inaccurate components between those scheduled and the PeopleSoft Course Catalog.

Student Services and Engagement is responsible for updating the Course Catalog including components, according to the changes advised by Faculty.

5.3 Co-curricular activities

Co-curricular activities in which students enrol are managed by the relevant Timetabling Unit through the Timetable Construction process, outlined in Section 4. Other activities which support the curriculum but do not require enrolment are managed by direct consultation between the organising body (e.g. Student Wellbeing, Student Services and Engagement, Library) and Asset Management Services.

6. Timetable constraints and priorities

6.1 Standard teaching times

Standard teaching times are Monday to Friday from 8am to 9pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.

The relevant Executive Dean has the authority to determine that required classes may be timetabled outside of the standard teaching times after consultation with the relevant Head of School.

Classes will be scheduled to begin on the hour and must conclude 10 minutes before the hour to allow for a change-over period between classes.

6.2 Timetabling priorities

In the construction of the timetable, the following criteria are used to determine a scheduling priority (N.B. this list is not ranked):

  • Activities that require specialised facilities will have venue priority over those activities with standard room requirements.
  • Larger courses have precedence over smaller courses in lecture theatres and rooms of comparable capacity. Room capacity against course enrolment will be a determining factor in the scheduling outcome.
  • Required courses (within a set study plan/year level) are given a higher priority than an elective course unless the elective is identified as a common elective by the Timetabling Units during the timetable data collection exercise.
  • Classes for any given course will not be scheduled to run sequentially unless specifically requested on the Course Impact Statement.
  • Tutorials will not normally be scheduled until the lecture timetable is settled. Scheduling preference will be afforded to tutorials where few alternative times are available (no repeats offered), as opposed to large courses that have abundant tutorial choices.
  • Courses should not be scheduled in a way that would require students following a recommended study plan to attend a scheduled class at more than one campus/location on the same day.
6.3 Timetable clashes

A clash occurs where two required courses identified with the program’s Study Plan are timetabled at the same time.

The timetable may allow for a clash between a required course and an approved elective course for a program. This will be avoided wherever possible and every attempt will be made to maximise the choice of clash free elective courses.

6.4 Service teaching

Where a course is utilised by a number of programs across the University, the Timetabling Units will liaise throughout the timetable construction before requesting timetable changes. Requests must be made by the owning Timetabling Unit and identify that the other Timetabling Units have endorsed the change request/s.

6.5 Double degrees

USC offers double degrees which may require students to undertake degrees managed by different Faculties. The Faculty identified as the designated ‘owner’ of the double degree (normally based on the first of the degrees named in the award title) is responsible for consulting all relevant partner teaching areas, to ensure that required courses are clash free and there are sufficient courses available for a full-time student to undertake.

6.6 Courses offered in intensive mode

Intensive mode classes may be conducted between 8am and 6pm on weekends and public holidays as well as 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday in non-teaching periods.

Intensive mode classes will not normally be scheduled between the hours 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday during standard study period teaching weeks.

For programs that offer multiple courses by intensive mode, efforts will be made to ensure that there is a spread of the intensive requirements over the teaching period.

6.7 Faculty/School meetings

For each timetable, the Timetabling Units must advise Asset Management Services of an identified two hour block to be a teaching free period each week. This period is used for conducting Faculty and School meetings and other activities requiring the attendance of the Course Coordinator.

7. Review of the timetable

End of timetabling exercise review

At the conclusion of each timetabling exercise, Course Coordinators are surveyed by the relevant Timetabling Unit seeking feedback on the space and timing of the offering of their course and early advice on any changes required for the next offering of the course. A summary of this collated feedback and information is to be prepared for the Executive Dean, Heads of School, the Timetabling Reference Group and other relevant stakeholders.

8. Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
  • approves the University’s academic calendar
  • is authorised on behalf of the university, to approve adjustments to the published timetable in exceptional circumstances which arise and which are external to the Faculties.
Timetabling Reference Group
  • produces an annual report to the Learning and Teaching Committee regarding the performance of the timetable against identified performance indicators
Information Technology Services
  • provides technical support and development of information systems and interfaces associated with the timetabling process
Student Services and Engagement
  • confirmation and set up of academic dates for semesters, sessions and trimesters including Open Enrolment dates
  • creates the course detail in the Course Catalog
  • creates non-timetabled classes
  • provides functional IT support and development of PeopleSoft Student (Campus Solutions) and associated interfaces for the timetabling process
Asset Management Services Timetabling Unit
  • plans and coordinates the construction and publication of the University teaching timetable in liaison with the Faculty Timetabling Units and other relevant parties
  • produces a calendar that outlines key dates for the collection, submission and publishing of timetable information for the forthcoming academic year
  • manages timetabling functions across the University and for the day-to-day operation of systems and business processes to implement continual review and refinement of procedures
  • ensures that any changes made to the published timetable are refreshed to the relevant systems at the earliest opportunity
  • provides user support to all timetabling software users in the University
  • periodically conducts room audits and provide statistical data as required
  • liaises with each Faculty regarding provision of a timeslot free from timetabled classes on one day per week to allow for faculty/school meetings
Executive Deans
  • approve final timetable relevant to their offerings
  • is responsible for approving requests from Course Coordinators for changes to the published timetable in courses for which their faculty is responsible.
Heads of School or equivalent (or delegate)
  • ensure that School inputs into the timetabling process are timely and accurate
  • ensure that staff are available to teach timetabled courses
  • resolve requests from Course Coordinators for changes to the draft, timetables in instances where the requests are not based on pedagogical grounds and/or where agreement between the academic staff member and Timetabling Staff is unable to be reached following negotiation
Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching)
  • provide advice to Heads of School and academic staff regarding pedagogy that optimises students’ engagement and success
Faculty Timetabling Units
  • manage timetabling and associated business processes across the Faculty
  • maintain accurate and up-to-date course information for Asset Management Services
  • liaise with Heads of School, Program Coordinators and Course Coordinators to collate required timetable information
  • actively participate in the timetable construction process
  • liaise with Asset Management Services to resolve timetabling anomalies
  • liaise with the other Faculties regarding timetabling of cross-faculty offerings (service teaching and double degrees)
  • advise students when changes to the timetable occur
  • at the end of each teaching period, seek and collate feedback from academic staff regarding the current timetabling of courses for which they are responsible and to indicate the likelihood of requests for changes to course timetabling for the next offering. A summary of this collated feedback and information is to be prepared for the Executive Dean, Heads of School, Timetabling Reference Group and other relevant stakeholders.
Course Coordinators
  • design directed activities to meet the course’s learning outcomes that make the best use of students’ time on campus
  • ensure that the schedule of Course Activities (Directed Study Activities) outlined in the Course Outlines are reflected in the published timetable
  • engage with Timetabling Unit so as to convey updated course data early in the timetabling process and to request changes to the draft timetable during the development process
  • upon commencement of the teaching period notify Timetabling Unit of cancellations of components/classes
  • give feedback on the current timetabling of courses, and also to indicate the likelihood of requests for changes to course timetabling for the next offering
Students
  • prior to open enrolment, check the published final timetable as it appears on the University website; and then seek advice from their respective Student Centre regarding alternative timetable solutions
  • following open enrolment, regularly check USC Central for timetable changes
  • attend those classes/components in which they are enrolled

END

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